Mezcal bottle from Mexico, bought in Cancun. T...

Mezcal bottle from Mexico, bought in Cancun. The worm (con gusano) can be seen at the bottom of the bottle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tequilas, Sotols, Mezcals (I’m getting thirsty!)

Hotel Congress is gearing up for the best Agave Festival yet.

The Tequila Tower is complete and ready for eight of Tucson’s best bartenders to climb to the top to battle it out for the judges with their agave-based creations.

The bartenders are all members of the United States Bartender’s Guild Tucson, made up of 60+ members that represent Tucson’s premier restaurants & bars. This year’s competitors include:

  • Cameron Fisher, Cup Café
  • Michael McGill, Hotel Congress
  • Jericho Davidson, Mr. Head’s
  • Michael Ursillo, Risky Business
  • Eric Harding, PY Steakhouse
  • Allie Baron, La Cocina
  • Ashley Greene, 47 Scott
  • Carlos Talavera, Contigo

The judging panel includes celebrity chef Janos Wilder, PR-whiz and radio personality Matt Russell, Plaza Liquors Owner Mark Thompson, and Certified Tequila Expert (Tequilier) Carlos Ruiz of Marriott Starr Pass.   The four judges will use their expertise to award first, second and third place prizes to the bartender with the best agave-based beverage.

The celebration of all-things-Agave will take place on Friday, May 4 from 6 -10 pm on the Hotel Congress Plaza.  This year’s event features tastings of over 40 agave-derived spirits including tequilas and mezcals, sotol and more; samples of signature cocktails, authentic street tacos, mariachis and live music from Latin Funk Project.

Cost of $25/person includes 12 tastings, light appetizers and a raffle ticket for amazing prizes. Hotel Congress’ specialty tacos are $2/piece.  Tickets are available online at or in person at the Hotel Congress front desk or Plaza Liquors (2642 N. Campbell Ave.)

Agave Fest is sponsored by Corralejo Tequilas, the United States Bartenders’ Guild Tucson, and Plaza Liquors.


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